The protagonists in Ki-duk Kim’s latest film are an unnamed mother, father, and son. The youngest of the three becomes the victim of his mother’s frustration, as she cuts off his genitals in order to get revenge on her cheating husband. The boy becomes a local sensation and a laughing stock among his peers, as their curiosity about the appearance of his castrated body causes him further humiliation. The boy’s father also becomes a victim, as he now dedicates all of his time to researching medical secrets in an obsessive search for an answer to the question of how to restore his son’s ability to function sexually. This film is not for the faint of heart, for those who will be repulsed by scenes of rape, castration, and masochistic masturbation. While censored in his homeland, it is difficult, however, to accuse the Korean director of wanting to shock viewers. His artistic vision is coherent and convincing, and his reflections on masculinity, as defined by the body, will continue to hammer away in your head long after the film has ended.
He was born in 1960 in Bonghwa, South Korea. As a teenager, he dropped out of school and went to work in a factory, after which he spent five years serving in the navy. He completed his studies in fine arts in Paris in 1992, but he does not have any formal education in film. He returned to South Korea following his studies and became a screenwriter. His highly acclaimed films have been shown and received awards in competitions at leading festivals in Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and Locarno.
1996 Krokodyl / Crocodile / Ang-o
2003 Wiosna, lato, jesień, zima… i wiosna / Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring / Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom
2007 Oddech / Breath / Soom
2011 Arirang (doc.)